tv Taiwan Outlook PBS October 27, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
traditionally summer camp has been used to over create -- recruit. on today's program, we are delighted to have two participants that were part of the taiwan 2013 project, and share with us their experiences living and working in taiwan for the summer. they are gina holly. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> and david wang. >> thank you. >> we're going to start off with a question to two of you, to tell us a little bit about yourselves. >> my name is gina holly. i'm 22 years old. i'm from los angeles, california, and i just graduated from the university of california berkeley. >> very good school. also where i got my phd and law degree. [laughter]
david, tell us about yourself. >> my name is david. my family comes from toronto, canada. my school is the university of toronto. >> also a very good school. [laughter] >> never heard of it. >> i'm studying contemporary asian studies and political science. >> what are your plans after graduation? >> i would like to get some real-life experience first and work a little bit before i decide my next steps. >> good for you. both of you are here to participate in the taiwan program 2013. can you tell us about the program? what is it all about? i know it was aimed to attract overseas youth. what is the program entail?
what are some of the services offered that were most attractive to you? >> i would say that the program is all about bringing overseas trainees to taiwan to show us where our culture came from, and about how great taiwan is, and hopefully bring us back over to taiwan after this great program. the internship is just an added cass. getting real-life experience, getting to see how real jobs work and people helping us and showing us around taiwan. >> where did you work for the summer? what did you do? >> they're basically helping us learn more about video production and teaching us how to use cameras, how to edit. every aspect that goes into
video production. i don't know anything about video production, i just know i like watching tv and movies. it's very interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. >> is that something that you might be doing later on in your career? >> i have always been interested in entertainment. video production is just one aspect. >> the program today would be a good start for you. david? >> a thought of it as a great opportunity to come back to taiwan. most of my family emigrated. i don't have that many chances to come back to taiwan. the last time i was back with a similar program with ocac. ocac when i was younger was a chinese school in the morning and then cultural activities. this time we have an internship, which gives us an in-depth look into worklife.
it's a more realistic look into taiwanese society and culture. >> where did you work? >> china television. >> what did you do? >> video production, video editing. because it is a bigger company, they took us out a lot on trips. it was very good because we saw different aspects of the production, and seeing other parts of taiwan that is not taipei, interacting with locals. >> as participants in the program, how often do you guys meet to exchange what you have learned, your thoughts about the program so far? do you meet every day? >> we are friends outside of the internship, so we hang out more often. with everyone we meet, probably three times a week.
i'm working on a video for the end of the summer, promoting taiwanese culture. we need to bounce ideas off of each other. were going to start filming tomorrow, maybe today. >> how did you guys learn about the program? it is almost three months for the two of you. what were some of the plans you had before deciding on being a part of the ttt 2013? how did you learn about the program? >> my plans for the summer were that i wanted to move to san francisco and lift my young 20s -- live my young 20's in s.f. jobs are hard to find, and living there is expensive. my other option was ttt, introduced to me by my mother. she loves reading the chinese newspaper and watching chinese television, and heard about
taiwan tech trek through those outlets. she urged me to apply. after some convincing, i looked it up online and it actually looks really great. i have been to taiwan many times before and i love taipei, living in taipei. i thought this would be a good alternative. it has been great so far. >> you have been back to taiwan before many times. how is the experience different this time that you are part of this ttt program? >> i did a bunch of ocac programs before. we just have more freedom now. >> you are also older. it has got to give you more freedom. >> yes. being on our own gives me a better way of learning about taipei. i have to learn how to take the
mrt on my own, the bus on my own, talk to people and improve my chinese. it's more practical. >> how about you? >> since three years ago, every summer i decided i wanted to travel to asia. that is how i thought the best way was to learn about asia, to go there and get first-hand experience. two years ago i went to japan for three months. at canadian universities, we have four months of summer holidays. >> that's fun. >> do summer school, do an internship where you travel. it's essentially a third of the school year. i went to japan and china the last two summers. i was like, it's about time i come back to taiwan. i searched on google. let's see what's available. the other ones were more study abroad trips. it was less practical, less realistic. it was kind of an artificial
environment, but i thought that the taiwan tech trek provided a great chance for us to come short term, work, get practical experience, and the other people -- meet other people. >> let me ask the two of you, has the program so far been pretty much what you expected, or is it beyond your expectations? has it fallen a tad short of what you originally envisioned? >> judging from the description, job description, i had no idea what to expect. i just went in with no expectations, open mind. >> good for you. >> after talking to everyone else, i decided our internship was amazing because we got to go on trips. we learned practical skills. it's a lot more satisfying. i'm very happy with it right now. >> how about you, gina? >> i expected that taiwan and
taipei was going to be really fun. every time i come back i always enjoy myself. this internship has really gone beyond my expectations. like david, i really didn't know what i was going to be doing this summer. when people asked me what is your internship, video -- >> i was like, propaganda, maybe. [laughter] >> we have been able to travel around. it has been great. >> was there any aspect or aspects of taiwan in the experience that you have learned on this trip that you were not able to learn on previous visits? david? >> it is more the access to talking to people that live here. there's a difference between when you study asia from reading
journal articles versus when you actually have a conversation with the taxi drivers. every taxi driver is different. i've had amazing conversations with all of them. with my bosses and my peers. i feel like i want to learn about every aspect through their perspective. i trust experience more than learning it secondhand back at school. that is probably the most exciting part. >> and gina? >> living here and working here has given me a chance to understand taiwanese society, the people. by getting to talk to them, going on the mrt everyday, going to work the same way. it's different because i'm not surrounded completely by overseas chinese the entire time. i just have a better understanding of taiwanese people. it's a good understanding. >> have you guys made new
friends on the trip so far, in addition to other participants in the program? >> i have, actually. from past programs, i've had people who are in taiwan -- everyone always comes back to taiwan. when we come back, we always meet up. i get introduced to more people. it is like a click friendship in taiwan. >> to me, it is more about family friends i reconnect with and relatives. they treat me better because they have a personal understanding of me and my family. it's great getting to know them. >> they probably see the maturation in you, too. >> hopefully. >> i could sense it 10 minutes into the program. we need to take the first break.
>> welcome back to the second segment of today's program here on the "taiwan outlook." we will continue speaking about the taiwan tech trek. gina holly and david wang are here with me. over the course of the internship, have you gained a better understanding of taiwan? not just work, but also the people, the society, the kinds of values shared by the people, especially the youth in taiwan -- has that been so for the kinds of progress you have seen in your understanding of taiwan? >> yes. i would say definitely. for me, it has been a seven-year gap since i last came back.
the taiwan experience when i was 14 was mostly hanging out with other overseas taiwanese, rarely interacting with the people who actually live here. now i'm more mature and i understand -- i'm more curious about it, and i want to learn. i'm more observant about my surroundings, and talking with other taiwanese people. the greater understanding i have is how society and people think. they're not really that different from us. it is more interesting to see how they see us, because we are overseas taiwanese. it is quite interesting. >> and gina? >> i have had a bunch of time alone, traveling. i also have a greater curiosity for taiwan now, as i'm older. i opted to walk home rather than take the bus, and just look
around, explore. what i have found is that i know i just love taiwan. everyone is so friendly. people are friendly and curious as to why i'm here. i've had random people who just want to have a conversation with me. >> you guys have been here for some weeks now. neither of you has your family with you. what are some of the things that you tell them in the last few weeks? through facebook, e-mail, whatever -- what were some of the things you were sharing with family and friends back home? >leave me alone, right? [laughter] >> my mom tries to call me everyday. i pick up once a week. she has not been back for 15
years. >> will she be here later in the program? >> i don't know. i just tell her how taipei has changed. nexen everything. -- new bikes and everything. i tell her what i think about taiwan now, and how i see its future. i asked them why they immigrated at first. i'm curious about their taiwan, 1980's, 1990's. there seem taiwan through my eyes now -- they are seeing taiwan through my eyes now. >> i think my mom is just excited that she can say, i told you so. >> this is a very worthwhile experience for you. >> she can see how happy i am here. basically all she tells me to do is buy her things. >> have you guys tried any new local foods on this trip?
you have been here before many times. have you had new experiences this time? you must have a lot of chopped ice. anything else? >> i tried [indiscernible] for the first time. i was with a really good family friend and they bought it for me. i did not want to disrespect them. it was good. >> my family friends took me down and there is a coastal town. we ate the best seafood ever. it is different from japanese seafood. here it is oysters raw, like soup, like pancake. i was blown out of my mind and how simple taiwanese cuisine is. it is very subtle.
when you can appreciate the simple flavors, that is when you really understand taiwanese cuisine. >> in the process, the two of you have gained an understanding of taiwan. what do you think the trip has made a difference in in your life, specifically regarding your future career options? will you be thinking of spending more time in taiwan? or maybe even start working here in taiwan? is that becoming an option? >> i have not given it much thought yet, but it's constantly there in my mind. you can only know if you want to do something once you have actually done it. coming here, getting a little taste of it, you get a feel for it. i feel it's quite easy to adapt to taiwan, more than my experiences in japan or china.
within three weeks, i felt very comfortable. as to whether i would work here, there is still some thought i would have to give. but it is an option right now. >> i am trying to improve my chinese. living here is definitely the best way. i have been thinking about maybe retiring here one day, just because everything is so convenient. when you are older and you maybe can't drive or can't see as well, even -- younger people respect their elders so much. i go onto the bus and when an older person comes on, three people stand up. it's a very good place for older people to live. >> for all the friends you have made in taiwan, old and new, do you intend to continue to stay in touch with them, maybe
through them you can understand some of the things that are developing differently in taiwan in the coming months and years? >> absolutely not. [laughter] i'm getting -- kidding. [laughter] i just met these people, and i feel like we will be friends. my two other interns, we became really close through just working together. through my previous experience in taiwan, i've always met up with old friends that i met in taiwan. even if i have not talked to them in five years, we can meet up again here and relive our memories and have this personal connection through taiwan. >> david, i suppose the
situation is similar? >> very. there's a few of my mother's family friends that i intend to keep on talking to. other than talking to people my own age, they give me a different perspective. they have seen taiwan's transformation. it's good to have different kinds of ideas, and people in taiwan to keep in contact with. >> one thing i was struck by very vividly was, based on the materials i was given by the producer about some of the observations by the two of you were able to pick up, i've noticed that the two of you identify some of the issues that confront taiwan today. they are very much the issues that a lot of the youth are currently having problems with. for example, the higher-than-
expected unemployment rate for people 25 and younger, and the stagnant wages, especially for younger workers in taiwan. are the some of the issues that come up in your conversations with local youth while in taiwan? do they voice their concern about the economy, about which way taiwan will be going? gina? >> we have not had extensive conversations about this, by the taiwanese youth i have come across -- but the taiwanese youth i have come across, they work very hard. the people i work with, we leave before they leave work. they are out there on weekends. they are stressed about their coming up on exhibitions. i don't know if that stress is
very good for young people, but that's what i've noticed. >> and david, you have seen the same thing? >> from what i have gathered, the minimum wage has been stagnant in comparison to rising inflation and living costs, especially in taipei. as much as the taiwanese people are nice and friendly, there is a certain amount of pessimism in regards to taiwan's future, economically and politically. it is really whether it will be stable. a lot of it is manifested in when they want to say, they go to australia or study abroad, go to other places with higher minimum wages, learning wish, and bring it back. -- learn english, and bring it back. it is really different from taiwan's heydays.
i see a lot of that tengion the conversations -- tengion -- tinging the conversations i have had. >> do you find that the youth here are more easily in tm with you in terms -- tune with you in terms of the language and problems they identified with? do you guys find more of the local youth able to converse with you in english? are they able to share some of the same things you are troubled with? is that the feeling you get? >> i would say so. it is half chinese, have english. in the end, we are pretty much on the same level. we can have conversations about these things. we are all youth. there's a huge youth unemployment problem in canada as well. i do understand where they're coming from. >> and gina? >> there is just more people in the world, in general.
gina, we understand that before the program actually started that both of you along with other participants needed to go through a weeklong orientation. can you tell us a little bit about that orientation? it seems to the outsiders that many of the participants of the program have been in taiwan before. what would be some of the issues or concerns they stress in the weeklong orientation program? what were the parts you enjoy the most? >> weeklong orientation was great. we went around the whole island, north to south, & a lot of different things. we went to the night market. my personal favorite part was when we were on a boat and they were just fishing fresh oysters and mussels, and then grilling them and giving them to us to eat.
we saw a lot of museums. i would say the best part is when we had taiwanese people our age students -- age, students guiding us. peer counselors, that's what they call them. we became friends with them really quickly. after the program, we still kept in contact with them. they take us out to dinner, various activities in the city. >> gina? >> orientation was a good idea for taiwan tech trek to do because we started our internships, because it allowed us to meet so many different people who were going to be in taiwan at the same time as us. you don't feel alone here. you know there are 300 others ings you are.
it is interesting because you n put 30 people together in a group, and you become such good friends with them after having this weeklong travel joury together. a kind of forces you to become best friends with people. even though we went to museums, the good thing that came out of it was -- the good thing that came out of it outweighed the other stuff. >> what were some of the things you enjoy the most? going to the night market, for have not been to yet. >> the night market was really fun. unfortunately, we did not get that much me there.
it's hard to organize 300 people in the place. that was my favorite part. >> what re some ofhe things that you probably are going to be sharing with friends and family when you go home? what are some of the things that you say, i have to tell my buddy or my brothers when they get back? what are some definite must tell things? >> our subway system in toronto has three lines. it is been like that for several decades. the first tng i'm going to tell them is how high-tech and how fast taipei buildand expands their metro. in toronto, we spent some times an hour just for the commute. here it is so convenient. that is probably the first thing i would tell them right away. come to taipei and ride the
metro. >> i have been telling my best friends for years that they need to come to taiwan. [laughter] >> because? >> because i have a blast every time i come. the metro system is super convenient. everything is reasonably priced. there are 10 7/11's a walk away. everything that is happiness is here. [laughter] i think. and also, if only best friends were here together it would be really fun. >> both of you know that our program is broadcast globally. there could be many other overseas youth watching our program and saying, learning from holly and david that this is a fun program. what would be your word of advice to them if they are
thinking of becoming participants are members of the 2014 program? >> i would say, what are you waiting for? go on ttt. why would you pass up this great experience to figure out who you are? you get to live in another country. a lot of people study abroad, and they do so so they canind themselves. it helps you mature a lot when you feel like you have to be independent. you not only gain language skills, culture experience, but you also gain that personal development. >> good. david, do you have brothers or sisters? >> two older brothers.
>> but you do have other friends who are younger than you, right? if they are thinking, david had a blast in taiwan and i want to go, what would you tell them? >> i would tell them, think about it in the world is there any other place that would h overseas taiwanese youth back to work for six weeks, give them subsidies, have a one-week orientation all in the summer, and i'll plan for -- all planned for? no other country can match that. you learn a lot about yourself, a lot more about taiwan, and make new friends overseas and here. you cannot find this opportunity anywhere else. >> when the program is over in the middle of august, gina, will you be going to china to start graduate school, and david, you will be going back home. in the future, whether it is
three or six months or a year or two years down the line, that you get a chance to come back taiwan, what would be the one or two things that you definitely want to do then again based on your experience this time? this is a g rated program. [laughter] we will start with you, david. >> definitely the food. anything in particular? >> you can get different kinds of vegetables, meat, and rice soup, seafood. taiwanese hospitality, they will stuff you until you are full. i am like, i feel great and i feel bad at the same time. it is the best food i've had. it really taste like home. that is what my mom cooked at
home. there is a sense of coming back to your roots when you taste that kind of food. >> gina, he said the easy things. [laughter] >> my easy thing is shopping. >> what do you like to buy in taiwan? most of the things you can buy in the states. here it may be a little cheaper. anything in particular? handcrafted? >> the states is not have as many of taiwan's little, cute things. taiwan has these practical mednax -- knick-knacks. you don't even know why they work. but yeah, shopping. there are more options. you make a cool event out of shopping. >> can you name one or two
things you have done on this trip that you have not done before? i'm sure you have been to the museums on previous trips as well. was there any one thing -- both of you started working for the first time in taiwan. was there any one thing you have done on this trip that you did not do on previous trips? >> living on my own. it has been a great experience. >> but when you were going to school at berkeley, did you live with your family? >> yes, but i am used to california. this is living where i'm just trying to get to know the city better. >> that's a more dramatic change. >> don't tell my parents, but it is just biking and constantly being like, what is coming next?
toronto is a bet -- bit better to bike. i have never biked on such a busy street before. it was probably the most satisfying and scariest moments of my life. >> since the two have you been to taiwan many times before, were you surprised by the traffic? or do you think traffic has improved over the years? or is it about the same? >> there is always so many people. what has changed is the best rains come first. -- pedestrians come first. >> this is my second time here. i don't think the traffic is that at all, compared to shanghai. taipei is relatively safe compared to walking there. >> we need to take the final break.
>> will come back to the final part of today's program on the "taiwan outlook." we will continue the fascinating conversation with gina holly and david wang, who are participants in the 2013 taiwan tech trek program, organized by the ocac. both of you have multicultural backgrounds, in your growing up and maturation process. david, you were born in canada but you have been traveling to taiwan twice now. and also to japan and china. gina, you are born to an american father and taiwanese mother. you have been back to taiwan
many times. you have been going to the china for the second time. how does your multicultural background help you? or is it becoming an issue, a concern for you in terms of you identifying where you belong and who you are? has that been an issue in the lives of the two of you? going to start with gina. >> yes. i grew up in california. all my friends were like, we're american and we have all this freedom. at home, my mom was so strict. i had to go to chinese school every saturday. i felt like, why do i have to learn chinese? i felt
embarrassed about it sometimes when i was younger. after coming to taiwan and seeing how great it is here, it made me proud of my chinese culture and want to learn chinese more. that is why i have an interest in becoming fluent in chinese. >> good. do you have any siblings? >> i have a brother and a sister. >> do they have the same problems when they were growing up? >> i imagine so. but both of them, their chinese is better than mine. >> how do you converse with your mom back home? >> she speaks to me in chinese. >> how about the trip? when was the first time you were in taiwan? >> when i was a baby, to see my grandpa. >> when was the first trip in taiwan that you still retain
memories of? >> it was when i was in elementary school. i went to taiwan for summer school. i remember back then the teachers were allowed to [indiscernible] if you were late. >> i bet that was an eye-opening experience. >> this is so different from america. they are allowed to -- [indiscernible] [laughter] yes, with chopsticks. but i was glad i was exposed to that. i really feel half american, half chinese. even though i may not look like it, i love it. >> now you are at least bilingual, right? >> yes. >> do you intend to pick up another language along the way? >> i don't think i need another language. [laughter] maybe sign mine which. >> -- language. >> david, in canada you see some
immigrants from china and taiwan, but not as much as you get in california. has that been an issue? >> the difference with growing up in canada versus america is that recently canada is very strong on its multicultural policies. it is not really a very strong canadian identity. i grew up in a mostly hong kong immigrant ethnic enclave in the suburbs north of toronto. i just felt like, everyone's peace cantonese around me. it was not an issue about me being from taiwan -- speaking cantonese around me. it was not an issue about me being from taiwan. growing up, i never was really exposed to racism because there were that many other chinese people. it was the first time i came back to taiwan when i was 14 that i did gain a greater insight in my taiwanese identity and my roots.
there aren't that many taiwanese in toronto as there are in the bay area or california or vancouver. there is less clumping together. drawing up with a multicultural background allows you a degree of sympathy -- growing up with a multicultural background allows you a degree of sympathy with people who are in the minority. growing up with that is a great asset, and allows you to understand people from different backgrounds more. >> would you think your multicultural background will be helpful in terms of making a future career option? >> i think so. the idea is to be a bridge, have one foot in one place and one foot in the other. one foot in asia, one foot in north america. it is the idea that if you can function in two different environments, that should be only beneficial to your life. >> i'm sure there are some taiwanese youth who are watching
our program or who are friends with you. they would envy the kinds of educational experiences that the two of you have. they are probably thinking that, maybe when i get to senior high school or go to college, i may want to have an overseas educational experience whether it is for one year or two years. what would be your word of advice to them if they are thinking of spending a year or so in a different country, in a different academic institution? >> it's a great experience. you do need to live in different environments in order to understand other people more. if you are from taiwan and you go to an english majority speaking environment, you do have that experience of feeling like a minority. it's one i think is necessary in order to develop empathy and understand others, and not just be looking inside only.
it is when you have these different kinds of experiences to draw upon that you can connect with different people. that is extremely beneficial. >> and gina, you feel the same way? >> yes, you are just expanding your horizons by traveling abroad. the people that you meet, experiences you have -- you are not so one-sided about things, because you get to see everyone else's perspective. it makes you become a more whole person. >> traditionally, there is heavy emphasis on academic performance in taiwan. a lot of people think that you have to get good grades inschooe entrance examinations. starting next year, we will now have college entrance examination -- i'm sorry, we will have high school entrance examination.
it becomes mandatory for people to attend 12 years of mandatory education. what is different from the education that we get, the experiences we get in a different country? in north america, people seem to emphasize well-rounded, not just academic performance, but community participation in terms of activities like school activities, like athletics, arts, speech, and other things. would you think that situation is also changing in taiwan, that from the youth that you talk to locally that people are now paying more attention and saying, i volunteer my time for certain charitable causes? do you think that for the younger generation of people starting to pay more attention on the importance of receiving a well-rounded education? do we sense that, david?
>> i don't know that many people younger. you can tell by looking at the culture. you go to school, then you go to more tutorial center, more tutorial center. i have been speaking to my family friends. some of them don't even send their kids to these tutorial centers anymore. the stereotype is that everyone goes there. their ideas of child rearing was, if there's got -- their ch ild wants to do something, maybe i will sign you up for that class. it is the educational system that a lot of people have problems with. that is why my parents immigrated to canada. there is some change coming about. >> and gina? >> from just looking around, i see that there is more of a social culture in taiwan. music is really big here, or
style. you're allowed to express yourself. i see that as people becoming more well-rounded. of course, you need to study and get good grades and go to a good school. but what is really important is doing what makes you happy. you must be good at school. but you also have to follow your dreams, all your interests. >> the final question of the program today is true or false. the two of you want to be goodwill ambassador between your home country and taiwan in the future. true or false. david? >> true. >> and how will you go about it? >> telling all my friends have good taiwan is. telling them about the culture, the food, the people, the history.
when i was growing up among people were like, you mean thailand? people don't really know what taiwan is. semiconductors, i don't know other than that. [laughter] >> gina? >> true. we did not say one bad thing about taiwan today. we are enthusiastic and passionate about being here and about our culture. anyone who asks me, i'm going to say i left taiwan. >> we certainly want to see more of you, and people around your age coming back to taiwan more often. it has been a pleasure to have you on the program today. i want to wish you all the best in your future endeavors. i look forward to seeing both of you again. thank you for watching our program today. i will see you next time on macro view television. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--